New Yorkers can shout a big “hail yes!” in response to a recent court ruling, which overturns a temporary restraining order blocking users from hailing yellow cabs via their smartphones. The Appellate Division’s First Department granted permission for e-hail apps like Uber, TaxiMagic and Hailo to operate their services in the city despite protests and pushback from black car and limo companies. The new ruling won’t take the e-hail commission completely out of limbo yet, but it does allow people to continue to use the apps while the appeal case is being argued.
“In New York City in 2013, common sense and the free market say that you should be able to use your smart phone to get a cab, and that’s why we created a pilot program to allow users to do just that,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a press statement. “This decision will allow our e-hail program to move forward, and give New Yorkers another way to hail a cab. Some in the industry want to protect their business interests by blocking the use of new technology – but innovation is good for customers, and we will continue to encourage it.”
Not everyone is down with Bloomberg’s appreciation of technology and innovation taking over the taxi industry. Reuters reports that private car companies view the e-hail program as an attempt to undermine their business. They filed an Article 78 proceeding against the city back in February, arguing that the city had falsely labeled the app a pilot program in order to sidestep city procedures for agencies seeking to pass new rules. The lawsuit was dismissed in April but was then resurrected when an appellate judge issued an emergency injunction against the pilot program.
Uber and Hailo CEOs note that the pilot program has been a tremendous success for drivers and customers. Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairman David Yassky praised the ruling adding that the positive feedback they’ve received during the wake of the pilot program indicates a clear demand from riders desiring the e-hail option.